Local businesses are the lifeblood of Houston and its food scene is better for it. Morning commuters need a hit of something special to calm the Houston commuter to prevent them from chewing their steering wheels and engaging in morning newsworthy acts of road rage. Fresh doughnut holes that melt in their mouths upon contact, and cream-cheese-stuffed pumpkin spice doughnuts are a happy alternative to flipping the bird and getting in trouble with Jennifer Reyna from Channel 2.
The Kolache Bar is not exactly new, but the Energy Corridor location is. Owner Nate Sin started the business as a route to avoiding the daily downtown shuffle to his legal assistant job. He started out with a doughnut shop in the 1960 area and perfected his craft by combining on-the-job training with attendance at food trade shows. The work culminated in his first Kolache Bar off Westheimer and Highway 6. There, he and his wife Lisa built up a strong client base and sold that location to move to Eldridge.
This new location opened up in July, and brought warm breakfast to the west side from 5 a.m. until noon. Business was slow, but that was to be expected. Harvey changed that.
The flood waters crept up and menaced the Kolache Bar, but stayed within 50 yards of the storefront. Other businesses closed down for at least a month. Residents needed a replacement for their regular breakfast haunts, at least until normalcy returned to the area. The Kolache Bar never closed its doors during those painful flood weeks. The Sins recognized early on that they were lucky, and that they were in a position to give back to the community when it needed their help the most.
Much like Mattress Mack opening his furniture stores to homeless flood victims, they brought people into their shop for hot food and comfort. They saw their customers and friends wandering the area in a cloud of disbelief. They knew they had to do something. Those normal operating hours disappeared in that surreal first week of Harvey. Work began at 3 a.m. and ended at 10 p.m. Hot food and coffee had healing powers in those days. The store also served as a charging station for cell phones and supplied basic food staples that grocery stores could not. Most importantly, they listened to the heart-wrenching stories from the displaced. The shop returned to its normal hours the following week, but that post-Harvey period of compassion and resilience came to define not only the Kolache Bar, but the entire city of Houston.
Any new eatery needs word of mouth to make it. Typically, it takes at least six months to build up a following naturally, Sin says. Even a menu that boasts choices like smoked brisket or scalloped potato kolaches needs time to take off. The Kolache Bar’s unique position following Harvey gave it the exposure that some shops never achieve. Business took off quickly and never looked back. The best-selling Bomber kolache consists of breakfast sausage, gravy, bacon and jalapeño. The doughnut holes melt away in the mouth like snowflakes. The chicken, spinach and feta kolache serves the needs of more health-conscious customers. The Jalapeño Popper pushes those healthy urges off the ledge with assistance from bacon and cream cheese.
The Energy Corridor Kolache Bar is one of the best breakfast spots in town. Once a customer crosses the threshold, they are welcomed by the Sins and provided with an experience that kicks off their day in the best way possible. If each person can leave with a “Happy heart and a full belly,” then the Sins have done their jobs.